Do you sometimes feel like cravings are taking over your life and consuming your every thought??!! Do you finish a meal and neeeeeed something sweet to finish it off? I use to feel like this ALL the time, and of course, I’m human, and at times the cravings can creep back! But I have a far better understanding of what they are trying to tell me and how to nourish them.
I want to share with you, some of my secrets, how I have learnt to listen and understand what my cravings are telling me.
I don’t want you to ignore these cravings, in fact I want you to always acknowledge them. Cravings should not be thought of as a weakness, but rather an important message from your amazing body telling you, that you could be out of balance.
Listen to the whispers from your body, so you don’t need to hear it scream!
Ok so let’s break it down. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?
What could be triggering your cravings:
- Is it a substitute for entertainment or to fill a void?
Perhaps you are feeling uninspired in your job or problems in your relationship or simply boredom.
- Are you Dehydrated?
Dehydration can sometimes be confused for hunger. A quick trick is to drink a glass of water when you get a craving.
- Your body could be out of balance
Did you know that certain foods have yin (expansive) and yang (contractive) qualities? So, eating a diet high in yin qualities (eg. Sugar or Raw Foods) can result in cravings for yang foods (eg. Meat or Highly cooked foods) and vice versa.
- Do you have Seasonal Favourites?
We are all guilty of over indulging around the holidays like Christmas pudding or Easter Eggs, this can result in the cravings retruning and sticking around each of the holiday periods. You may also simply crave foods of the seasons, in the Winter (heat producing foods, higher fats, heavier foods) in the Summer (more fruit and raw foods) in the Spring (detoxifying foods, like leafy greens) or in Autumn (grounding food, like rooted vegetables).
- Imbalance in your Hormones
Whether that be during your period or throughout the month. * Explain high testoroton, estrogen and pestogoe symptoms
- Nutrient Deficient
Your body could also simply be deficient in certain nutrients, which I will break down in further detail below.
One of the most interesting, and one you may not have even been aware of…
When things are going well for you, sometimes we have the tendency to self-sabotage, craving foods that throw us out of balance.
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It’s important to understand these triggers as this is the way you can change your patterns. If for instance it is when your period is due, it could be that your magnesium is low and you are craving the cacao. So rather than grabbing the processed chocolate from the supermarket, make a batch of raw chocolate to always have on hand when the cravings hit! Having healthy alternatives can be the make or break when your cravings hit. We don’t want to punish our bodies; we want to nourish them with nutrient dense foods of what it is actually craving.
|Why do you crave it?||When you don’t consume enough magnesium rich foods, your body will start to naturally crave this. It is important to incorporate foods high in magnesium; also, topical magnesium creams can be a great alternative to ensure you are absorbing it. It is a quick effective method, as the skin absorbs fast than digesting it.
Unfortunately, due to the quality of our soil, magnesium levels are becoming lower and lower which is why it is important to buy organic produce that has high quality soil.
|What Nutrient is your body craving?||Magnesium assists the neurotransmitter release of dopamine, that gives you that feel-good feeling. It can also assist our nerve function, which can calm anxiety and depression. Magnesium can also relieve muscle aches and pains, which is why you may see it advertised for athletes, but always ensure you are purchasing quality foods and product, not just the latest #spon on Insta!|
|What to Eat – Healthy Swaps!||Whip up some yummy raw chocolate to have on hand (ALWAYS!) that’s my secret to kicking the craving in the butt. I even keep some in the freezer to so I can grab it and go!
But I totally get it, the cravings call and you haven’t got anything… opt for 70/80% dark chocolate. By eating richer chocolate, your taste buds won’t need the whole block. Wooo WIN/WIN!
Ensure you diet has a variety of foods to prevent these cravings coming on, other foods that are high in magnesium to increase are avocados, pumpkin seeds and leafy greens.
|Why do you crave it?||Most likely your diet is lacking enough Protein. It could also be a sudden drop in blood sugar levels! High carb foods (also tend to be high in sugar) can increase the hormone serotonin, which will give you the short term ‘happy/high’ feeling, however it won’t last long and will drop shortly after leading to another craving or worse binge.
Are you stressed!? Increased levels of Cortisol (the fight or flight reaction in the body) unfortunately is stimulated too often, daily in fact, it was one used to protect us if we were being attacked or chased by a lion in the wild… however now it is instantly released in traffic jams, at work, and all other stressful situations we encounter so frequently.
|What Nutrient is your body craving?||Protein. The amino acids in protein rich foods are vital for healthy mind and body, and can also help weight-loss. Along with this did you know protein also assists the body with the areas we tend to forget about, like the collagen in our hair, skin and nails!|
|What to Eat – Healthy Swaps!||We are so lucky now, there are an insane number of healthier, nutrient dense alternatives. Like Paleo options of breads and pastas, cauliflower pizza, quinoa porridge, quinoa risotto. If you are looking for a pasta alternative, try zoodle, or wholegrain pasta, remember it’s about increasing the nutrient density not completely giving it up.
A simple trick I like, is to add greens to my pasta dish, like a pesto sauce (Basil Pesto recipe here), or add extra veggies like spinach, pumpkin etc. You can increase the nutrients which will soothe your cravings but still nourish your body.
I also like to serve pasta with a side salad, by eating that first you won’t need quite as much of the pasta to get your fix.
Ensure you diet has a variety of foods to prevent these cravings coming on, other foods that are rich in protein, obviously, chicken, red meat, but also, legumes, quinoa and cheeses.
|Why do you crave it?||Like above, it can be from a drop-in blood sugar levels, but more likely your body is screaming for more minerals!|
|What Nutrient is your body craving?||Minerals, such as calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, zinc and other trace minerals. Minerals are vital for the functions in the body, from anti-stress, converting energy, maintaining bone density and mess and even keeping the body in an alkaline state.|
|What to Eat – Healthy Swaps!||Some great healthier alternatives to salty chips are home cooked Popcorn, Baked Sweet Potato/Potato Wedges, Kale Chips. By baking these at home, you have the control of the quality and quantity of produce, oils and salt.
As your body is calling out for these minerals, table salt has GOT TO GO, select sea salt, pink Himalayan and natural salts, that are far higher in trace minerals.
Continue to keep your diet high in a variety of foods, but you can also include foods like dulse flakes, nori rolls, hemp and chia seeds, dark leafy greens and fish.
|Why do you crave it?||Again, it could be a drop-in blood sugar levels – which points to… don’t skip meals!! Boredom and sleep deprivation are also notable factors; we tend to reach for the lollies and sweets when we are bored and tired.
You may also not be eating enough daily calories, when you restrict yourself, your body doesn’t have enough fuel to convert to energy to keep you going, so you will reach for the easiest and quickest hit. Which turns into a vicious cycle! Up-down-crash-crave.
Also, it’s worth noting that sugar is simply addictive… the more you eat the more will crave. Therefore, it’s vital to increase a variety of foods to ease sugar cravings.
|What Nutrient is your body craving?||Chose high fibre and fats foods to keep your blood sugars stable and to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Ensure you are getting enough sleep. Most importantly don’t diet or skip meals.|
|What to Eat – Healthy Swaps!||Sugar cravings predominantly come on when we are in high stress situations and we crave the sugar-rush that comes along and gives us the (false) energy, to keep going.
It is vital when trying to curb your sugar cravings to increase the variety of foods, so your body feels well nourished and not deprived in any area.
Healthy swaps can be things like, Whole fruits, Cinnamon (which is a fantastic blood sugar stabilizer, add it to everything !!), Gelatine Gummies (you can make these at home with gelatine and fruit ahhh YUM) Nut butters, eggs, increase smaller meals throughout the day, increase high quality fats into your diet, like avocados, good quality olive oil, coconut oil etc.
|Why do you crave it?||It could be due to a decrease in calcium levels, the body in fact draws the minerals from the bones to increase your calcium levels again. SHOCK but, Carbonated drinks can speed this up, so opt for mineral water not soda water.|
|What Nutrient is your body craving?||Calcium, is obviously well known, as it builds strong bones. It can also protects us from gum disease, arthritis and even dementia.|
|What to Eat – Healthy Swaps!||Great Heakthy swaps can be Kombucha, Sparkling Mineral water, Kefir, Coconut Water.
A few ingredients to also increase into your daily diet to prevent these cravings are quality grass-fed diary, dark leafy greens, fish, broccoli and kale.
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Therefore, we can see that cravings, are simply deficiency of necessary nutrients in the body. It is vital to increase your variety of foods to assist the body in its natural functions, which will then curb these cravings before they even begin.
Whether it is stress eating, binge eating, emotional eating or just cravings, you don’t need to necessarily put a label on it, but acknowledging the feeling and debunking it, is what will separate you from a healthy relationship with food, or taking a trip down that rabbit hole.
I get it, I’ve been there, I’ve binged, I’ve caved to the craving, but I’ve come out the other side and can tell you, I now make the CHOICE when I want to eat something. Yes, of course I still indulge in different foods, chippies are my weakness :p but I don’t suffer from that crazy ‘craving’ feeling that literally takes over your body until you’ve eaten it. I have found the calmness and the balance surrounding the foods I enjoy.
I want to help you overcome that intense feeling of cravings and no control, show you how to listen to your unique body. If you are suffering from cravings or struggling with your relationship with food, send me a message and let’s work together to make this one area of your life easier. Food isn’t evil, it shouldn’t consume our every thought, it’s there to nourish us, and be an enjoyable experience. If you are interested in chatting about this, click here, (or email, firstname.lastname@example.org) lets chat! You are never locked into anything, I’m simply here to help you on your journey.
How do you deal with cravings? I would love to know in the comments below!
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